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The price of bitcoin has fallen sharply since hitting a high of nearly $70,000 per bitcoin late last year. Ethereum price also suffered an almighty crash with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin issuing an urgent update warning ahead of the major Ethereum merger upgrade that will starts next week.
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“I was surprised the accident didn’t happen sooner,” Buterin said. Told economics writer Noah Smith in an interview.
The bitcoin, ethereum and crypto market has lost an estimated $2 trillion in value since November last year, crashing along with stock markets as the Federal Reserve embarked on a program of monetary tightening designed to drain some of the liquidity from the system that had built up during the covid-era of historically low interest rates and stimulus measures.
“In the medium term, cryptocurrencies will stabilize and be about as volatile as gold or the stock market,” Buterin said. “The main question is where prices will stabilize. In my opinion, a lot of the early volatility was related to existential uncertainty.”
Buterin pointed to the repeated price drops that bitcoin has suffered over the past decade, predicting that the “existential” questions facing bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies “will become increasingly settled”.
“The math nerds way of saying it would be this: the price of crypto is stuck in a bounded range (between zero and all of the world’s wealth), and crypto can only stay highly volatile in that range for so long until unless it repeatedly buys and sells low becomes a mathematically almost surely guaranteed winning arbitrage strategy,” Buterin said.
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After the huge bull run in bitcoin, ethereum and crypto prices in 2021, cryptocurrencies have started to seep into the mainstream, with adoption on Wall Street, by tech companies and countries including El Salvador, with Buterin saying crypto “finally feels useful.” As adoption increases, Buterin predicts the market will stabilize further.
“If in 2040 cryptocurrency has established itself robustly in a few niches: it replaces the store of value component of gold, it becomes a kind of “Linux of finance”, an alternative financial layer still available that ends up being the backend of things that are really important but don’t quite take over the mainstream, so the chance of it disappearing or completely taking over the world in 2042 will be much smaller,” said Buterin, speaking just a week before the long-awaited fusion upgrade is underway. “Individual events will have much less bearing on that possibility.”
Next week, Ethereum will begin its transition from the energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanism to the more energy-efficient proof-of-stake with the bellatrix hard fork on Tuesday.